This month, Tech For Techs asks its members if they still find value in selling gaming gear, what items are they’re looking forward to stocking, and whether low-end or high-end products are proving most popular.
DANIEL CLIFFORD, VOLTS UK
“I often find we get undercut by the larger online gamer-focused companies. Selling gaming units has not been a big thing for us. We concentrate on, and are known for, our repairs and trouble shooting services. So we service some gaming PCs and check over some new builds if the customer has got stuck. Repairs are our bread and butter. We keep parts and accessories for sale. After 23 years we are doing OK.”
IAN ADSYS, ADVANCED SYSTEMS
“I specialise in new and refurb gaming systems and easily wipe the floor with bigger companies when it comes to pricing. I’m working on a website at the moment, never needed one in the past. I’m the local go-to place for gaming systems and do a lot over Facebook now.”
DAN HALL, ATLAS IT
“We do a bit of everything, enthusiast gaming is ever on the rise, why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that? As a “gamer” and an owner of an IT hardware company, nothing excites me more than when new hardware comes out. I mean you can’t not love a water cooled system all lit up! It’s like an early Christmas.”
IAN HARDEN, IPC SOLUTIONS
“I have never specialised in gaming PCs but can and have built them for stock and for customers specifications. I do not find that my customers want to buy a specific gaming computer unless it’s for their sons or daughter generally and want it more for the office – homework predominantly, and then it only needs to play Fortnite of PUGB. I find that buying 2nd hand components or refurbished parts is useful for building bargain gaming PCs that sell well on eBay. However, we’re always happy to build one with our customers via our PC builder site http://ipcsolutions.org.uk/build-pc-pc-builder-page/
ROBERT KOLODZIEJ, PC HELP AND CARE
“I get a gaming PC client once in a while. 50% are new builds, 50% fixing a gaming rig they bought from someone. I’m trying to be the go-to person for gaming PCs in Swindon as no one else really advertises that side of their business. But as most of those people are tech-savvy enough, it’s a small market. Still, I don’t enjoy anything more than building a £2k gaming machine for a client.”
STE HAMES, SJH COMPUTING
“I don’t really get much demand for gaming machines (I don’t really advertise it to be honest). However, when I get a request for a gaming machine, I normally ask my suppliers to spec it for me so I know my customers are getting the best possible hardware for their money. 90% of gaming machines I build and see are pretty high spec machines.”
RICH FORTH, PHASE 4 COMPUTERS
“We see a good number of gaming systems every month, whether we’ve bought and built them, or had the customer provide us the parts and we’ve charged an assembly and an OS install fee (as long as they’ve bought a genuine key). Our main focus on gaming builds is not to beat prices, but quality and service. All our gaming builds come with a 2-year warranty (except where the customer has supplied the parts), which puts most customers at ease that they’re getting quality. My staff and I are game focused, so we build each system as though it’s going to be ours and be on show. This has lead to us getting more business in for gaming systems as customers (well, their kids) have shown off the build to friends, who in turn have come to us based on what they’ve seen us do!”
“Gaming computers and accessories for independent stores can be a hard market to get into, as the costs of stocking such equipment can be expensive and in a lot of cases the profit margins can be very low. For example, one of the products we reviewed a few months ago was able to be bought at a distributor for £109, but the recommended retail price was just £114.95, so if you wanted to stock this item and sell it at a good price you are making only £6 profit (before tax and costs), where you could buy a low end or non gaming version of a product for £13 and sell it easily for £29.95.
A lot of gamers know exactly what they want and the chance that you have that item in stock is low. While you can always order it in on a next day and sell it to them, they generally know that they can get that item delivered to their door the next day from a large store or online marketplace.
We have found in our own computer shop that gaming peripheral sales have declined a lot, where customers get the exact item they want online. But, we have had a huge increase in orders for custom built gaming computers, and the average price that customers are willing to spend now is nearly twice as much as two to three years ago. While there are online stores that will make computers for you,
they may not be able to offer the components that you want. Independent stores are more flexible and able to get stock from a number of places on a next day delivery.
The most effective tool we have for selling gaming computers (as well as standard PCs) is the In-Store PC Builder by Target Components. It allows customers to come into the store and design the computer they want with over 306 billion combinations. The parts are then shipped to us directly from Target Components so we can build the computer for the customer, and if they wish, customers can even get Target to build the computer themselves to save on time.”
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